Horror games have taken on all shapes and sizes over the various console generations. From jump scares, to psychological horror, to gore-infused nightmare romps through quiet towns, there are many ways to invoke the thrill..
Welcome back to Screenshot Weekly! Every Tuesday, IGM brings you exclusive early looks at upcoming games in various stages of development. The featured image introducing each game will always be original, and made especially for..
Every once in a while, something comes along that instantly gets your attention with stylish good looks, an intriguing premise and a good amount of promise.
Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries is one of these games. Developed by 7-man Belgian outfit GRIN (unrelated to the dearly departed Swedish multiplatform studio, before you ask), Woolfe takes the well-known fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood, layers it thick with a dark, steampunk-inspired gothic aesthetic and crams it into a 2.5d side-scrolling game.
Described by the developer as a “dark, sidescroller odyssey”, details about the game are a bit scarce right now other than that it’s currently in the alpha stage of development, with a public beta due to come in March 2014 and is being developed in Unreal Dev Kit. We’ve reached out to the developer for more information.
In the meantime, catch a look at the game in action by watching the trailer below:
Misfit Children Games has launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign for their twin-stick shooter Archive. The game has been in development for over two years, and is finally nearing release. There are a number of rewards available for backers, including the ever-popular digital copy of the game when it’s finished. Some of the higher tiers let backers work with the team to design an entire level for the game.
In Archive, gamers play as the Codex, an AI built into a small ship. Players can place various weapons on their ship and change where they’re located. The game features a branching tech tree to explore, which gives players a large handful of options for weapons. The enemy spawning AI morphs depending on the preferred playstyle of the player. Misfit Children Games says they were inspired by Left 4 Dead’s AI director, and implemented something similar in their engine for Archive.
Not much has been revealed about the story of the game, but interestingly enough, the team is choosing a Hindu theme for the story, inspired by a text called the Bhagavad Gita. They also left potential backers with quite a teaser: “The fundamental question of Archive is this: after you die, which is more valuable? A perfect record of your life made by a stranger, or the imperfect memories you record yourself?
The Indie Van Game Jam is an upcoming video game documentary series that is hosted by Chad Stewart and Zeb West. Stewart and West are two game developers who plan to travel throughout North America and visit independent development studios and pose each studio a question related to game development. Eight episodes are planned and so far the duo have confirmed that they will visit Stoic Studios in Texas, the Indie Game Collective in Massachusetts, and developer Rob Lach in Illinois.
As mentioned, each developer will be asked a question. As Steward and West drive across the country to visit these studios, they will game jam in the van, and attempt to develop a game that explores the episode’s question. As each episode is released, the game they developed in transit to the episode’s destination will release alongside it.
“Once we have The Question that is right for the studio,” the pair explain on the Kickstarter campaign for the Indie Van Game Jam, “we hop in the Indie Van and game jam along the way, trying our hardest to answer the question ourselves. When we arrive at the studio, we interview the developers and ask them The Question – then we show them the current state of our game jam and see what insights they have. Now, armed with the sage wisdom of the masters, we finish the game jam in the van on the way home and release it with the episode as a digital download.”
Steward and West met while working on Star Wars: The Old Republic for Bioware. They have since founded Binary Solo, a development studio based out of Austin, Texas.
Claustrophobia is a powerful tool. In an enclosed space there is no way to tell what may be behind you, creeping, or what lies beyond the next corner. Saturn 9 exploits this fear of the dark and the constrained in a very simple way while building up intensity through atmosphere and subtle music-cues. Saturn 9, developed by Raoghard, drops you off in the abandoned “Saturn 9″ space ship as a recon officer of some kind trying to find out what happened after the ship went dark. Without too many spoilers, someone on the ship went slightly mad and/or zombified and is now waiting for you in the depths of the ship.
The game is roughly a half an hour long, but Saturn 9‘s brevity is punctuated by a dark atmosphere. Your HUD is seen through the eyes of the character, meaning that the glass and curvature of your space-helmet is visible. The simplicity of adding curvature to the HUD text creates an environment in which the player has no idea what is going on around them. A helmet allows for tunnel vision and this game takes great advantage of it. As well, being in space, one needs oxygen. Throughout the game there are scripted events where the player must reach an oxygen tank or face asphyxiation, this is made more difficult as the world spins around the player as they begin to black out. Contained in these events are optical fallacies which are reminiscent of Dead Space’s original madness. They are truly creepy and unsettling and capture a part of space-horror which hasn’t been explored fully. Remove the science-fiction and the space aliens and the helix-monoliths, and there is still space and the vacuum out there; blackness that no human can endure. Unfortunately, due to the game’s short length, there are relatively few of these unsettling moments.
Saturn 9‘s mechanics are that of a simplistic first person adventure game, explore, find object or hint, use found-stuff to solve puzzle, continue. That is the majority of the game and it flows in fits and starts. The puzzle rooms are seperated by a horror-filled corridors with the atmosphere carrying throughout. That is the game, like I said, for the most part. The last section of Saturn 9 has a bit of a twist in mechanics which is a bit frustrating simply because of how sudden it is. I won’t spoil it, like I said, there are some things to be discovered in this game, but just… watch out for the last section.
As for story, Saturn 9 holds very little in the way of great human drama. The ship’s story is cataloged in audio recordings which bookend the sections of the game, telling the story of a scientist, a captain, and an engineer. None are there to greet you when you arrive, so, draw your own conclusions from that. The set-dressing for the game is sparse as well, and besides the heavy atmosphere there is little to differentiate Saturn 9 from any other space ship. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, the game is short, scary, and to the point. The setting could benefit from a little sprucing up, but besides that, it runs quite well.
To be clear, Saturn 9 did scare me. It carried its atmosphere well throughout the game and the idea of an oxygen deprived environment is clever. Honestly, I just wanted more. The hallucination sections were wonderful and there could definitely have been more of that and less of the unnecessary puzzles. There is an idea that a horror game needs to have other elements in it as well to make it a game. It needs guns, or puzzles, or platforming, and true, without those there is little to fear. Atmosphere can only get you so far. The fear of failure and the risk of death carries great weight in games. They are great motivators and build tension easily. However, puzzles can be scary, difficult, and interesting all at the same time without breaking up gameplay. The puzzles in Saturn 9 felt uninteresting and distracted from the most interesting part of the game: the corridors in between.
So, should you play it? If you like a short, good scare? Absolutely. It was a fun little romp. Raoghard did an excellent job with this game, and I laud his ability to create a game which can scare me (not an easy feat), but as to whether or not I will play it again, I can safely say I will not return to Saturn 9 anytime soon. There isn’t enough to go back to. Hopefully Raoghard will be given the time and space to create something of length and breadth next time.
Saturn 9 is available on the XBLIG Marketplace for 80 MSP with a free demo.
Abducted is an upcoming horror adventure game from Sunside Games. In Abducted, players find themselves abducted by aliens and taken across the universe. The goal of the game is to escape and find a way back home, but Sunside Games is not going to make things easy. Combined with environmental challenges and extraterrestrial horror, Abducted features a deep storyline that focuses on free-form conversation, allowing players to learn as much, or as little, as they desire. Planned to be released in six episodes beginning this June and releasing every seventy-five days, Sunside Games has opened pre-orders for the first episode of Abducted.
“The vision for Abducted is as an episodic adventure,” explains Richard Cowgill, Abducted’s lead designer, on the game’s Greenlight page. “Not episodes that take years to make, but instead are produced in a rapid, high quality fashion like a modern TV show (Dexter, True Blood, etc). Each episode will be meaty, with its own arc, its own story and construction. There will be a lot to do, see and experience.”
Sunside Games developed Abducted using their in-house engine Radiance, which they previously used while developing Crow for iOS devices. The developers at Sunside Games have over thirty years combined experience in the video game industry, and have worked on titles like the Borderlands series, and the Battlefield 1942 modification, Desert Combat.
Pre-orders for Abducted are being taken on the official website, and buyers have three options to choose from: the Collectors Edition ($39.99), the standard edition ($24.99), or the first episode alone ($7.99). Pre-ordering the Collector’s Edition gets buyers into the Beta tests that Sunside Games is planning to take place in June. Look for episode one, later this summer.
Krillbite Studio’s Among The Sleep has been attracting attention since it first started development back in 2011, when it was announced as the winner of both the Norwegian Game Awards Hype and the Hamar Game Challenge. Currently under development for the PC and Mac (with Oculus Rift support in the works), the game will be Krillbite’s second official release following the freeware experimental game The Plan, which was completed and published back in February.
Put simply, Among the Sleep is a first-person horror adventure game in which you explore a world somewhere between reality and dreaming as a two-year-old. Going deeper (because, with dreams, you always have to go deeper), it’s a game about vulnerability, perspective, imagination, and the things that go bump in the night. Simple tasks like opening doors or navigating through clutter become difficult obstacles, and ordinary, everyday objects and hallways are transformed into strange, otherworldly landscapes full of terrifying unknowns. Self-defense, of course, is out of the question; hiding, or crawling/tottering away quickly, are your only options should something scary find you.
The game begins with a lullaby, your mother’s sweet voice singing you to sleep as you struggle to keep your eyes open. But as the melody fades, it becomes increasingly clear that something is not right. Teddy bears, for instance, do not simply slide up and out of cribs and across the floor by themselves like something out of Paranormal Activity. Gameplay begins when the crib is tipped onto its side and you find yourself rudely tossed out of slumber-land and back into your room, which doesn’t seem so welcoming in the middle of – you guessed it – a dark and stormy night. The door creaks open, threatening and yet inviting at the same time, tempting you to face your fears and discover what’s lurking beyond the threshold.
It is quite safe to say that the Video Game industry is often times a rather sexist industry. This is something no one is proud of but stems back to old values and hopefully overtime this will change, but why do I mention this here you ask? Well A Kickstarter started late March has aimed to raise funds for a nine year old girl to go to an RPG Maker camp to develop their very own RPG.
It’s an interesting proposition and as the indie market is all about gamers making games for like minded individuals so a nine year old creating an RPG for children is surly a good thing and the learning experience alone is rather great. Due to many developers not looking at making games for such young audiences this idea could be something rather interesting.
Of course the Kickstarter is quite the strange one overall for this project because you are not so much expecting to get a final product out of it but more to help someone else out, which is rather commendable. Interestingly the community has really rallied behind this project greatly exceeding the requested $829 goal raising so far $23,000 which is very impressive to say the least.
With such an excess of funds raised we may even see full development of an RPG from MacKenzie Wilson although at this stage the direction they intend to take is unclear. I am all for people using Kickstarter in new and creative ways, although is this use out of the remit to what we expect from Kickstarter? It’s difficult to say overall and getting children involved in game design is always a good thing s surely
Be sure to leave your comments below about what your stance is on this project and Kickstarter overall. MacKenzie Wilson’s campaign can be followed on Kickstarter here.
The Briefcase is simply something special. It’s a indie horror game that was created and developed by Brandon Mattice. The goal of the game is to search through an abandoned warehouse so that you can find “The Briefcase.” If you’re lucky enough, you may even find close to a million dollars in that briefcase. No one has known anything of what The Briefcase contains. You could find a million dollars, access to the government treasury (I guess that’s not really worth anything) or even your own private yacht. It could be anything. The only thing is, this briefcase has something to deal with the warehouse workers disappearing. There’s also something that’s out to get you; someone who does not want you to get your hands on The Briefcase. You can check out the embedded trailer for The Briefcase below.
Developer Brandon Mattice developed and created The Briefcase inside an engine known as FPS Creator, a pre-built editor to make your own games without any coding experience needed. He claims that he’s “pushed the engine to its limits.” From his teaser trailer embedded above, I have to say, he has done a fine job. The Briefcase is an excellent indie horror game, and the fact that the game is free of charge, makes it even better. If you’re interested in trying out a free quality game, you can head on over to Brandom Mattice’s portfolio website, Cool Shades Media, where there will be a download link to the 60MB game.
The Briefcase will definitely interest people who enjoy dark and spooky games while not being able to expect what’s coming. Sort of like Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but just a bit less extreme than that title.